Department of Energy predicts no interruptions from new EPA emissions rules

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a report suggesting that the impacts of upcoming emissions regulations put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency should not pose any substantial threat to the country's electricity supply. 

The EPA issued a controversial ruling that would require coal-fired power plants to drastically reduce emissions of toxic chemicals like mercury. The rule is expected to force the closure of several older power plants, which could lead to a substantial rise in electricity rates in regions that rely on coal-fired generation. 

The larger issue though relates to the potential for the ruling to lead to a shortfall of peak power output. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation outlined in its annual reliability assessment that regions of Texas and New England could see service interruptions. 

The DOE challenged this assertion, with its report insisting that demand should be met over the next three years. However, the NERC report suggests that over the course of 10 years temporarily shutting down the 600 power plants that will need upgrades could lead to shortages. 

Read the full DOE report here: 2011 Air Quality Regulations Report

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